Monday, September 28, 2009

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 series review

Rating: B

If it may seem too soon to review this anime because of a disaster of our own, I thought this would be the right time to do so. Although the real-life disaster over here and that of the series are of different natures, the feeling of helplessness, desperation, disconnect and frustration at the government's slow and oftentimes inadequate response are all too familiar. As my homie Dilthey once said, "understanding is based on experience". Therefore, I understood this anime based on the experience of a natural calamity, both mine and of those who were not as fortunate. (Unlike most Manila residents, I didn't experience the house-devouring floods this typhoon became famous for, but power and wired communications were cut off for a day to prevent the floods from electrocuting people, and I had to fight long and hard to get rid of puddles forming on my floor. The only allies I had were my mom, my trusty old transistor, my phone and a hand-powered flashlight.)

The main points of the series were also its weakest. Because they presented the story as basically a journey back home by two kids stuck in a disaster zone, the aspects of chaos are very well played out. The capture of panic, fear and futility are very accurate. However, this is a double-edged sword. Character development wasn't done for those other than the 3 main characters. Everybody is a stranger. Everyone was met for the first time. Everyone else was known on a "right-here-right-now" basis. Furthermore, the pacing was also very well done. However, the end part was a bit too raw for me. Yuuki's death, while moving, felt a bit rushed and could've been explored further.

Anyways, this is a very good depiction of a real-life disaster scenario. But as a story, it's so-so. I liked it because of the way it captures the human experience. I didn't think Mirai made that much of a development after the last ep. In fact, I even think her sanity took a hit because of Yuuki's death (see that delusion over there). Obviously, it cannot be a bildungsroman by any means-- just a good chronicle of a disastrous event.

Stay Tuned.

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